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Encourage correct place name formatting


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#21 J.O. Sellereite

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 07:01 PM

A difficult subject but an important one. I feel that one discussion is whether place name formatting should be so strict and rigid that all genealogist all over the world should use the same place format for all place names. I don't think that should be a goal. I agree with Terry Foster that users should be able to write the place name themselves, and that you should not be forced to link to a place finder or a mapping software. But at least it should be a way that make it possible for one genealogist to keep a consistent place database.

I will again as mentioned above stress a little bit that Rootsmagic should go for a tree structure for storing place names. I see that in some following letters to my first one, people are talking about edit field again and whether 4 or 5 edit fields are enough. The disadvantage anyway by using edit field in this way is that you have to do the tedious work of repeating country and states again and again for every place name. An operation that sooner or later will lead to inconsistence. In a tree structure you can in principle have unlimited levels, and you enter a place item only once.

Another problem I think is better handled with a tree structure is, what is actually a place name when doing genealogy. I have many relatives in Usa that immigrated a century ago. For many of them I only know that they lived in Usa. For some of them I know the state they lived in, but for many people I don't know which town or place they lived in. On the other hand for many other people I know which farm or street adress they lived in. With no limitations on how many dividing you can have, even a farm or a streetname can be treated as a place item. But as you see, for many people I have to accept a whole country as a place name. The alternative is of course to keep the place field in the facts empty until I have found a more detailed place item.

I see that Alfred is conserned about importing place names from GEDCOM files into such a structure. Well, he is almost correct when he suppose that there are almost not two GEDCOM files in the world that stores all place name in the same way, so an import of a GEDCOM file will anyway lead to some manual work. But an import routine can do much to reduce this manual work. Of course another topic is that GEDCOM 5.5 doesn't have a good standard for storing notes and pictures linked to a place name. Rootsmagic has here made it's own _PLAC tag, that might be unknown to other genealogy software, while other genealogy software probably make their own solution. It is a pity that GEDCOM 5.5 treat places as a STRUCTURE and not as a
standardized RECORD.

One demand anyway that has to be followed with such a tree structure is that every country have their own dividing format as proposed in my earlier letter on this page. It MUST be possible to USER DEFINE the dividing format for each country. Ok what is then needed to put a place item into correct position. First there must be a way of deciding if a place is a Country (Since Countries need configuration for dividing) or if it is another place type. For a place item that is not a country you need to know.

1. Which country do the place item belong to
2. What type of place item is it (Township-County-State (USA), Sted-Kommune-Fylke (Norway))
3. What is the "parent" place item

In the tree structure there should be tree types of treeicons. One that indicates a country. One that indicates a place item in correct position and one that indicates a place item not in position. To be in position means that all information (1.2.3) must be indicated, and that the place type is following the dividing rules for the country. The icons will then indicate which place item that need to be moved into a correct position.

when importing from a GEDCOM file it is probably a good idea not to try to import it directly in position, by keeping 1. Country as unknown and 2. Type of place as unknown. And that the import routine concentrate on finding 3. Parent place item. By not taking of care of the country and type of place, all place items will be imported on the top level in the tree structure as misplaced items. By comparing item by item, and create a record for each item, the first time they appear, it should be possible for making raw trees for the imported place items.

Ok then to the manual work that has to be done. On the dialog for editing the place item, there should be a combo-box for selecting the country the place item belong to. Then an another combo-box can be updated with the place-item types (dividing) for that country. When selecting the place-type, a tree structure can be updated on the dialog showing all places for the selected country that has a place-type with a higher level than the edited place item. It should then be possible to select the "parent" place for the item, and the place item and its lower items can be moved into correct position in the tree structure.

Of course it is possible that you import place items that are already exist in the original tree structure. It should then be possible to do a normal place-merge for place items that are in correct position and on the same tree branch.

Hope this suggestions is somewhat understandable.

Another suggestion on a tree structure like this, and mentioned in my letter above is possebillity to use shorter placenames, and how this can be done. In the facts on the person dialogs places should of course be shown fully qualified with the smallest item to the left and to the country on the right side, all separated by commas. But in the reports it is much more readable to show fewer items of the place names. This is how I will suggest it.

When doing a report I think most genealogists publish their reports within a limited graphical area where most of their relatives are living. I think very few genealogist publish their reports all over the world. Then when making a report you should be able to select a publish area from the place-tree. This place item can then be used to decide which place-items to show in the reports. My geography knowlegde in Usa is not good, but i will try to explain with an example. Let's say we select "Utah" as publishing area, which is a State. Let's say that a person A is born in "Salt Lake City (Town), Salt Lake (County), Utah (State), Usa (Country)". Since the report is mainly going to be published in Utah, we don't need to mention the State itself or the country. The place items for person A in the report will then be "Salt Lake City, Salt Lake". Ok we then have person B that is born in "Chicago (Town), Cook (County), Illinois (State), Usa (Country)". Since Chicago is in an another state than Utah, we need to mention Illinois (State). But since Utah and Illinois both are in Usa, we don't need to mention the country. The place name for person B will then be "Chicago, Cook, Illinois". Ok then we have a person C that is born in "Bergen (Town,By), Hordaland (County/Fylke), Norway (Country)". Since Bergen is even not in Usa, than this place name also must include the Country item. The place name for person C will then be "Bergen, Hordaland, Norway".

To further shorten down the place name I think that the way shown above should be used only first time a place name is mentioned within the same persons section in the report. The second time and further I think it is enough to show only the most detailed place item.

Another wish here is of cource to format the place names in the report. When making the dividing for a country it should also be possible to decide a text to be used in front of and after the place item for each of the dividings. Then a place name in the report could be something like "born in Chicago in Cook county in state of Illinois." (Maybe someone can teach me how to write place names correctly in Usa!!).

Well much to read, much to think of. What do other people think of these ideas?

Jon Oddvar Sellereite

#22 JHP

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 05:35 AM

QUOTE(decann @ Jul 15 2007, 01:58 PM) View Post

John,


If the place name is in the USA, then no country name is stated, but anywhere else in the world it is. If a further place name is known, then I include that as well:

Old Burying Ground, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts




Why ever leave off the country? If you sort places as I do (to see what countries are involved), then the state sorts as a country. If I don't know the City or County, I go so far as to use "(City), (County), Michigan, USA" or possibly "Niles, (County), Michigan, USA". The () indicating it's unknown, that way my sort always has the first 4 fields showing the same information.

#23 fizzbomb

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 05:19 PM

I started out with PAF 1.2 a long time ago. I remember the days of 4 place fields. One of the biggest disadvantages was print outs when you had omitted one of the fields. Unless I knew which county, I would omit the county name until I was sure. So, this is how it appeared in reports:
Town, , State
Or worse, if you only knew the state:
, , State
And I really detest those commas.

Like decann, I hand enter everything and also include street addresses, cemetery and church names in the place name, such as:
cemetery, city/township, county, state, country (if outside the U.S.)
because it is the most exact location - where I can put a pin in a map instead of circling an entire city or township. One of my locations is an old church in what is now Philadelphia, PA (originally Germantown). A strict place field format would necessitate the name of the church or the street address to be in the description field and the actual place as:
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania(, USA)
Description: St. Michael's Evangelical Lutheran Church
Putting the church name in the description would consume 41% of the field capacity, not counting whatever leading word I would need to include for a complete sentence such as the Funeral fact would require "at " before the church name (another 3% of the field capacity). Luckily, Bruce has provided us with flexibility and ease in editing those locations if we change our minds on how we wish to record them. So I can have:
St. Michael's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
as a place name. Thanks, Bruce!!

Jackie

#24 PEBlood

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 02:47 AM

There is a problem with standardizing place names. It seems fairly easy to arrive at a naming convention like Chicago, Cook, Illinois, but there are complications.

The first is whether you add the country onto the end. I was born in the US and so were many of the 10 generations or so who preceded me so it seems unnecessary to add United States of America to everything.

Second, and most important, a Town, County, State naming convention is illogical during America's colonial period. Place names have changed over time. Sure, we could say that our Mayflower ancestors died in Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA (I see that all of the time), but that makes no sense. There was no United States or Massachusetts in 1620. They died in Plymouth, Plymouth Colony. Some of these changes in naming convention are recent. People do not die in West Germany or East Germany anymore. There is only one Germany.

Personally, I use the Town, County, State convention for vitals since about 1670 or so. Prior to that, I name the colony (Plymouth, New Haven, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, etc).

By the way, the US Post Office place names have been suggested by some. The PO has its own naming convention that is completely independent from anything else. it is based upon delivery convenience. If you live in a town very close to another larger town, they might give you the address of the larger town. On the other hand, the PO recognizes many UNincorporated places that would not show up in a Town, County, State naming convention. Bottom line: ignore Post Office addresses. They are only meaningful for mailing letters.

#25 landbrake

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 06:44 AM

These are some good points, though they have been discussed in a number of posts over the last few years...

QUOTE(PEBlood @ Oct 22 2007, 03:47 AM) View Post

There is a problem with standardizing place names. It seems fairly easy to arrive at a naming convention like Chicago, Cook, Illinois, but there are complications.

The first is whether you add the country onto the end. I was born in the US and so were many of the 10 generations or so who preceded me so it seems unnecessary to add United States of America to everything.


A suggestion has been made on this point to allow a "default country" which one might normally define as the country with the majority of entries in your database. Having this default would tell RM to simply not print this country on reports, so that, for example, Louisville would print as "Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky", while London would print as "London, England" ( or "London, United Kingdom" if one so wished, or any variation of the country name that suits your purposes).

In fact, I see no reason not to allow multiple default countries, so that if, for example, you had many family members in both the United States and Canada, neither of those country names need appear in reports (the state or province name being sufficient to identify the location for anyone using such reports).

QUOTE(PEBlood @ Oct 22 2007, 03:47 AM) View Post

Second, and most important, a Town, County, State naming convention is illogical during America's colonial period. Place names have changed over time. Sure, we could say that our Mayflower ancestors died in Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA (I see that all of the time), but that makes no sense. There was no United States or Massachusetts in 1620. They died in Plymouth, Plymouth Colony. Some of these changes in naming convention are recent. People do not die in West Germany or East Germany anymore. There is only one Germany.

Personally, I use the Town, County, State convention for vitals since about 1670 or so. Prior to that, I name the colony (Plymouth, New Haven, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, etc).


This is, indeed, a much more interesting question. A suggestion I made quite a while ago is to allow two (at least) place names... one to identify the place (as much as possible) as it existed at the time of the event, and another to identify it as it exists now. As a simple example, I have a lot of family from West Virginia. Prior to 1863 the places where they lived were in Virginia... the location hasn't changed, only the political boundaries. I would like to identify where someone was born as: "Philippi, Barbour County, Virginia [current Philippi, Barbour County, West Virginia]". If discrete fields were used for places (as I and several other people have begged for continually over the years) then you could, for example, when doing research in an area, list people/events within a certain distance of a location based on the current name, but in reports you could list the original place name. Optionally in reports, you might even want to list BOTH names.

#26 Glenn

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 04:11 PM

QUOTE(John James @ Jul 15 2007, 12:02 PM) View Post

I wish ALL genealogy programs would make a move towards encouraging proper placename input and help bring about some standard for the future and I would like to see RM take the lead.

Parcel of land descriptions may differ around the world but there are generally 4 fields which tie down the location pretty good, I exclude a description field here as I would love to see that on every place to enter the Church, Cemetery or address etc.

Township - County - State - Country - (USA)
Townland - Parish - County - Country - (Ireland)


Sort of a problem here. (I'm a native Californian, but have been a resident of upstate New York for over 25 year.)
Out West you either live in a city or unincorporated county territory (which also has other areas without definite geographical boundaries). In New York (and other states this side of the Mississippi, as far as I can tell) you live in a hamlet, village or city which is in the town (before you even get to the county level. A village can be incorporated or not. I'm not sure about a hamlet. Each of these entities has its own governmental offices, and from at least the incorporated village or city, each has its definite geographical boundaries. So how would you handle my location if I lived on Main Street in the village of Laurens? Place Name: Laurens [village], Laurens [town], Otsego [county], New York, U.S. ?? Not very conducive to my desired 3-level place name uniformity.
Some folks who live in the Town of Laurens live outside the village. The town of Laurens shares a town line with the towns of Hartwick, Oneonta, Unadilla, et. al.

Glenn


Good real estate may be based on location, location, location;
but
good sources are based on citation, citation, citation!


Glenn


#27 landbrake

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 07:38 PM

QUOTE(Glenn @ Oct 22 2007, 05:11 PM) View Post

Sort of a problem here. (I'm a native Californian, but have been a resident of upstate New York for over 25 year.)
Out West you either live in a city or unincorporated county territory (which also has other areas without definite geographical boundaries). In New York (and other states this side of the Mississippi, as far as I can tell) you live in a hamlet, village or city which is in the town (before you even get to the county level. A village can be incorporated or not. I'm not sure about a hamlet. Each of these entities has its own governmental offices, and from at least the incorporated village or city, each has its definite geographical boundaries. So how would you handle my location if I lived on Main Street in the village of Laurens? Place Name: Laurens [village], Laurens [town], Otsego [county], New York, U.S. ?? Not very conducive to my desired 3-level place name uniformity.
Some folks who live in the Town of Laurens live outside the village. The town of Laurens shares a town line with the towns of Hartwick, Oneonta, Unadilla, et. al.

Glenn


This is a tough call... I don't know if anyone out there has a perfect answer, but I'm sure I don't. The best I've thought of so far is a multi-step approach, as follows:

1) For each country where RM is used, or which user's have entries for (which will probably be just about every country in the world!) Bruce could solicit input from users as to every political boundary that is in effect. Any geographers/map makers who could be persuaded to provide input would, of course, be more than welcome. This could provide a "master template" from which individual users could then select which parts they want to use through judicious use of check boxes. For example, the U.S. could have things like: place name (hospital/cemetery/etc.), neighborhood, hamlet/village, township, city, suburb of, county/parish, state, region, etc.

2) Any countries where there is insufficient info provided could get a "best guess" template until someone provides something better.

3) The default template should be user editable so that individual users can set it up any way they choose.

4) Each country's place name "entry template" should also provide a "presentation template", which shows how the place name is actually written out in reports and in GEDCOM's, to allow for interoperability with other programs.

5) Once the user selects his/her choices of fields for their own personal entry template, then that controls the default entry screen for place names. In my case, I would probably select place name, city, county/parish, and state. These would be the fields I'd be asked for every time I came to enter a U.S. location. I personally would probably use "city" for all incorporated (or sufficiently well known unincorporated) entities such as villages, etc. Others could, of course, use whatever level of detail works for them, and they should be able to change their defaults at any time.

6) In some instances I may wish to input more detail about a particular location. The place entry screen should have a "more detail" button that then presents me with all of the defined place fields for whatever country my place is in, so I can fill in, say, a township name in Ohio when the location is not in an actual town/village/city. Also, if I know that, say, an ancestor came from the New England area but I don't even know which particular state, I could simply fill in the region and nothing else.

7) As alluded to in an earlier post, users should be able to define a default country or countries. This would be the assumed country whose place entry template would be used unless overridden. In my case this would be the U.S.

8) So all I should have to do to enter a location in the U.S. would be to, in a fact entry screen, click on the "location" tab. I would then be presented by default with entry fields for state, county and city. If I want to enter "Philippi, Barbour County, West Virginia" I would start in the state field, type a "W" (at which time I would be presented with a drop down selection of Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin... am I forgetting anyone?) so I could either arrow down once to West Virginia and type "Enter", or I could proceed to type "We" at which point West Virginia would be my only choice, so an "Enter" here would fill it in the rest of the way and then move me to county. I don't recall how many WV counties begin with "B", but I'm pretty sure that by the time I get to "Bar" I'll only have once possibility, so another "Enter" gets me the county and takes me to the city field. A "Ph" will probably be sufficient then to get me "Philippi". So 10 keystrokes or so gets me all of that info filled in. Of course if I guess that there are only a few cities/towns beginning with "Phil" (like Philadelphia and Philippi) then I can start from the city field and possibly get there in even fewer keystrokes. Contrary to what (one or two) others have insisted, I can demonstrate that the worst possible case for this method of place name entry is to take the same number of keystrokes as the current RM method... and at best it can take far fewer.

As I say, this certainly isn't the prefect or complete answer to your question, but hopefully it provides a starting point for contemplating the best way to make place names work in the optimal manner. When it's all written out like this it sounds involved and complicated, but in actual use I believe it would be extremely simple and intuitive. I'm pretty sure (based on nearly 30 years of programming data entry screens for end users) that after a few minutes of using this type of system, 99% of RM users would be wondering how they ever survived without it. biggrin.gif

#28 PEBlood

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 03:34 AM

QUOTE(Glenn @ Oct 22 2007, 03:11 PM) View Post

Sort of a problem here. (I'm a native Californian, but have been a resident of upstate New York for over 25 year.)
Out West you either live in a city or unincorporated county territory (which also has other areas without definite geographical boundaries). In New York (and other states this side of the Mississippi, as far as I can tell) you live in a hamlet, village or city which is in the town (before you even get to the county level. A village can be incorporated or not. I'm not sure about a hamlet. Each of these entities has its own governmental offices, and from at least the incorporated village or city, each has its definite geographical boundaries. So how would you handle my location if I lived on Main Street in the village of Laurens? Place Name: Laurens [village], Laurens [town], Otsego [county], New York, U.S. ?? Not very conducive to my desired 3-level place name uniformity.
Some folks who live in the Town of Laurens live outside the village. The town of Laurens shares a town line with the towns of Hartwick, Oneonta, Unadilla, et. al.

Glenn


A little clarification on towns, villages, and counties. I have lived in NY, CT, and now live in MD. In NY, a village, town, city, or county is defined for taxation purposes. A city is always outside a town, so one gets only a city tax. In a village, you are in BOTH the village and town at the same time, so you are taxed by both the village AND the town. No matter where you are within NY, you are in an incorporated town or city (except NYC). In NY, it is possible for a town to have a larger population than a city (Hempstead, Long island is a town with 500,000 people). Out west, they sometimes call these townSHIPS. There are places in NY that are unincorporated, but they are inside some town. Incorporated "hamlets" are a unique designation to the Adirondack Park.

MD by contrast has no townships. Many people, perhaps most of the state, live counties but in places with no sub-county government. I live near Urbana. Urbana has no government. County government is very central in MD.

CT in contrast, has 151 towns and essentially no county government at all. Some folks in CT are not even sure what county they live in.

How is this relevant? Any naming nomenclature would need some flexibility. Counties, States, and countries are easy to define. One could use a drop down list, which would make things worse then they are now. However, the locality is not. It is subjective. The locality could be an incorporated village or town, but it could also be an unincorporated place or the name of the nearest place or any size. The software could not, however, require it to an incorporated municipality (sub-county) because some people do not live in one.

#29 landbrake

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 08:44 AM

QUOTE(PEBlood @ Oct 23 2007, 04:34 AM) View Post

<snip>
How is this relevant? Any naming nomenclature would need some flexibility. Counties, States, and countries are easy to define. One could use a drop down list, which would make things worse then they are now. However, the locality is not. It is subjective. The locality could be an incorporated village or town, but it could also be an unincorporated place or the name of the nearest place or any size. The software could not, however, require it to an incorporated municipality (sub-county) because some people do not live in one.


You are absolutely correct that flexibility is the key. In the system I have proposed, no element of a place description should ever be required. It would simply say: in the template that you have decided on, these fields may be entered in this order, and RM will help you out with suggestions from similarly named places so as to minimize typing and maximize consistency, and it will also present those place names in a form that you have decided on. If some place descriptions simply can't fit into any template that you've decided on (or it would be too much effort to tweak everything to fit them in) you should always be able to go back to entering any part (including the whole) of the place name in free form. In fact, for those who prefer the current free form approach to place names, nothing in this proposal would prevent them from continuing to do so, and they would still derive whatever limited benefits RM could provide through text matching on the entire place string.

#30 John James

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 01:05 PM

QUOTE(landbrake @ Oct 23 2007, 07:44 AM) View Post

You are absolutely correct that flexibility is the key. In the system I have proposed, no element of a place description should ever be required. It would simply say: in the template that you have decided on, these fields may be entered in this order, and RM will help you out with suggestions from similarly named places so as to minimize typing and maximize consistency, and it will also present those place names in a form that you have decided on. If some place descriptions simply can't fit into any template that you've decided on (or it would be too much effort to tweak everything to fit them in) you should always be able to go back to entering any part (including the whole) of the place name in free form. In fact, for those who prefer the current free form approach to place names, nothing in this proposal would prevent them from continuing to do so, and they would still derive whatever limited benefits RM could provide through text matching on the entire place string.



I started this thread not to propose rigidity but to encourage some sort of standard - "I wish ALL genealogy programs would make a move towards encouraging proper placename input and help bring about some standard for the future and I would like to see RM take the lead."

So often I hear genealogy folk say "I wish I had of realised that years ago when I started...." when referring to place lists and even sources.

All I originally advocated was that genealogy programs encouraged some sort of formatting or at least hinted towards a recognised way of entering data so those new to genealogy today don't fall into the same trap of just typing anything into place fields. It would have save me a load of work years ago.




#31 landbrake

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 01:42 PM

QUOTE(John James @ Oct 23 2007, 02:05 PM) View Post

I started this thread not to propose rigidity but to encourage some sort of standard - "I wish ALL genealogy programs would make a move towards encouraging proper placename input and help bring about some standard for the future and I would like to see RM take the lead."

So often I hear genealogy folk say "I wish I had of realised that years ago when I started...." when referring to place lists and even sources.

All I originally advocated was that genealogy programs encouraged some sort of formatting or at least hinted towards a recognised way of entering data so those new to genealogy today don't fall into the same trap of just typing anything into place fields. It would have save me a load of work years ago.


Essentially, two major requirements for place name input (or source input, etc.) are:

1) Absolute rigidity, so that genealogists always specify their locations in the same way and can guarantee all place names will have a consistent, reliable structure; and

2) Absolute flexibility, so that genealogists can structure their place naming conventions in a manner that works for their own individual needs and can handle any arbitrary location, some of which may be very unlike others (say your father is an astronaut who celebrated his 38th birthday while circling the moon... how do you describe THAT location with city/county/state?).

Needless to say, these two requirements are mutually incompatible. So a package like RM has to try to find the best possible balance them... encouraging standardization while not forcing anyone into a structure that simply can't support their needs. Not always the easiest task for a software developer. wacko.gif

#32 John_of_Ross_County

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 09:30 PM

QUOTE(landbrake @ Oct 23 2007, 12:42 PM) View Post

1) Absolute rigidity, so that genealogists always specify their locations in the same way and can guarantee all place names will have a consistent, reliable structure; and



Names of places without appending "County" or an abbreviation "C." or adding "Township" or an abbreviation "T." can be ambiguous. I have found this problem in data provided by a deceased researcher long before personal computers were invented. I have also found it in a recent Gedcom from a relative.

Without context, if someone lives in "Logan, Ohio," where do they live?

Using the RM Placefinder, they could live in:

1] Logan, Hocking County, Ohio
2] Logan, Defiance County, Ohio
3] Logan County, Ohio

I think it would be a mistake to design the software such that "County" or Township" or abbreviations would not be allowed.

#33 landbrake

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 09:34 PM

QUOTE(John_of_Ross_County @ Oct 23 2007, 10:30 PM) View Post

I think it would be a mistake to design the software such that "County" or Township" or abbreviations would not be allowed.


I agree with you completely on that point... but did anyone suggest that such identifiers should not be allowed? unsure.gif If so I think I missed it.... I'd better read through these posts again!

#34 MVS

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 08:50 AM

Like many issues this is one that seems to create a clear dichotomy of views: those that are happy or prefer to stick with the current system and those that say "I would like a more structured option". The net result is that because no one can agree the system is left 'as is' insterad of moving forwards.

Perhaps it is time that RootMagic accepted some "system options" are neede when the program is first installed and Users could decide their preferences. So for addresses they could decide whether they liked the existing system or whether they would like to be presented with a series of fields (country, state or county, town, village etc etc).

Perjhaps also it could ask what fields they would like to see on their list (so they could choose their own preference). I would certinaly prefer a more strucutred approach where I could clearly define the County/State field and the Town Field and so on.

This principle of system options could also apply to other fields; for example the geographic co-ordinate filed (which has been the subject of other wish list requests). The user would be prompted to decide which format they would use throughout the system and then the data entry prompt would reflect their choice.

Even the most contentious issue of all - GAY PARTNERS - (yes I have used the phrase!) could perhaps be accommodated by giving three options on the initial configuration screen :

a) I am gay and wish to be able to record gay partnerships as proper legal and binding marriages
b) I am not gay but wish to be able to record gay partnerships as proper legal and binding marriages that reflect my family history and/or the laws of the land
c) just give me 'proper' old fashioned genealogical partnerships between members of the opposite sex.

And the system could then work accordingly and never mention the other options as not to offend the user.

(PS you may think there is no difference in system terms between option a and option b. This is true, but it just allows people such as me to choose the option that reflects what is happening (b) without giving it any moral approval !).





#35 Vyger

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 04:36 PM

QUOTE(MVS @ Oct 25 2007, 03:50 PM) View Post


Perhaps it is time that RootMagic accepted some "system options" are neede when the program is first installed and Users could decide their preferences. So for addresses they could decide whether they liked the existing system or whether they would like to be presented with a series of fields (country, state or county, town, village etc etc).




I'm all for options, everyone has a preference, so what about this one.

ENABLE PLACEFINDER LOOKUP

We are already part way there in structuring places through Placefinder although there are small problems to be sorted.


1. RM is not designed to directly lookup the Placefinder database when a place is being entered, only it's own place list. Linking to the Placefinder database should be a user option and if the user then see's the place he wants one click should enter it including co-ordinates.

2. Placefinder needs to be a learning database where new verified place data can be entered by users in countries other than the USA. I have an Irish place database which I have to reference separately at present.


At present when entering US places I copy from Placefinder and paste into RM, but I could still alter that information with freehand if I so wanted, so the dissenters would have no problem regarding rigidity either.

If Placefinder lookup was incorporated as a user definable OPTION then it could be simply switched on when working with unfamiliar places, like the US for me.

It makes sense and something is bound to happen in this area. imo





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#36 kbens0n

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 05:19 PM

I suspect PlaceFinder is likely "the past"...Family Atlas is, more likely, "the future" for interoperability with RootsMagic. ;-)

---
--- "GENEALOGY, n. An account of one's descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own." - Ambrose Bierce
--- "The trouble ain't what people don't know, it's what they know that ain't so." - Josh Billings
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#37 Vyger

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 03:22 AM

QUOTE(kbens0n @ Oct 26 2007, 12:19 AM) View Post

I suspect PlaceFinder is likely "the past"...Family Atlas is, more likely, "the future" for interoperability with RootsMagic. ;-)



I don't use Family Atlas but does it have this sort of functionality?, when RM4 is released if it has a strong tie up with a mapping program I will buy the addon.

Can you presently interogate a place name on Family Atlas and populate it into RM and how good it the place database?

Thx


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#38 Glenn

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 10:28 AM

QUOTE(John_of_Ross_County @ Oct 23 2007, 11:30 PM) View Post

Names of places without appending "County" or an abbreviation "C." or adding "Township" or an abbreviation "T." can be ambiguous. I have found this problem in data provided by a deceased researcher long before personal computers were invented. I have also found it in a recent Gedcom from a relative.


When I first started creating my tree (with FTM), I discovered that I needed a standardized way to enter place names. I may have known that the person was born in Los Angeles County, but not which city. So all the places in California were not grouped together. So, I started using comma delimiters (ie ", Los Angeles, California" or ", , California" Then I found a naming convention I liked and have been using ever since: [city], [county], California. I have one individual whose state I couldn't determine, so, without looking it up, I think it reads "[city], Grayson, [state]". If I use this convention, I wouldn't think it would be necessary to actually enter "County" or "C".

Glenn


Good real estate may be based on location, location, location;
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#39 Glenn

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 03:31 PM

QUOTE(MVS @ Oct 25 2007, 10:50 AM) View Post

Perhaps it is time that RootMagic accepted some "system options" are neede when the program is first installed and Users could decide their preferences. So for addresses they could decide whether they liked the existing system or whether they would like to be presented with a series of fields (country, state or county, town, village etc etc).

Even the most contentious issue of all - GAY PARTNERS - (yes I have used the phrase!) could perhaps be accommodated by giving three options on the initial configuration screen :

a) I am gay and wish to be able to record gay partnerships as proper legal and binding marriages
cool.gif I am not gay but wish to be able to record gay partnerships as proper legal and binding marriages that reflect my family history and/or the laws of the land
c) just give me 'proper' old fashioned genealogical partnerships between members of the opposite sex.

And the system could then work accordingly and never mention the other options as not to offend the user.

(PS you may think there is no difference in system terms between option a and option b. This is true, but it just allows people such as me to choose the option that reflects what is happening (cool.gif without giving it any moral approval !).

This is true. I'm working on a family in which the person's name is Nancy Jane, but in her son's note tab she is referred to as Mary Jane. I tried to add an alternate name, but couldn't do it.
Also, I have a friend who, as a child couldn't pronounce her middle name correctly so her parents actually did a legal name change.
Then there are the friends and families of Christine Jorgensen (anybody remember her?) and more recently Dr. Renee Richards.

Glenn


Good real estate may be based on location, location, location;
but
good sources are based on citation, citation, citation!


Glenn


#40 Glenn

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 06:57 PM

QUOTE(Glenn @ Oct 30 2007, 05:31 PM) View Post

This is true. I'm working on a family in which the person's name is Nancy Jane, but in her son's note tab she is referred to as Mary Jane. I tried to add an alternate name, but couldn't do it.

Well, just four hours later (after dinner) I found the drop down box working with another person!


Good real estate may be based on location, location, location;
but
good sources are based on citation, citation, citation!


Glenn